What is a Malware?
Understanding the different types of harmful programs that affects our computer such as virus, trojans, worms, adwares and spywares.
The main purpose of a malware, virus, worm, trojan, spy-ware and adware is to create discomfort to the user. Discomfort in terms of damaging files, crashing the hard drive, hacking ones privacy, and worst damaging the hardware itself. To fully understand malware software and all of its related software and programs, let us first define them.
A malware is a type of software designed to take over and/ or damage a computer user's operating system, without his or her knowledge or approval. Once installed, it is often very difficult to remove, and depending on the severity of the program installed, its handiwork can range in degree from the slightly annoying (such as unwanted pop up ads while a user is performing regular computing tasks on or offline), do irreparable damage requiring the reformatting of one's hard drive, since much malware is poorly written. Examples of malware include viruses and Trojan horses.
A virus is a program - a piece of executable code - that has the unique ability to replicate. Like biological virus, computer virus can spread quickly and are often difficult to eradicate. They can attach themselves to just about any type of file and are spread as files that are copied and sent from individual to individual.
A worm is a self-replicating computer program, similar to a computer virus. A virus attaches itself to, and becomes part of, another executable program; however, a worm is self-contained and does not need to be part of another program to propagate itself. They are often designed to exploit the file transmission capabilities found on many computers.
A trojan (trojan horse) is a malicious program that is disguised as legitimate software. Trojan horse programs cannot replicate themselves, in contrast to some other types of malware , like viruses or worms. A Trojan horse can be deliberately attached to otherwise useful software by a cracker, or it can be spread by tricking users into believing that it is a useful program.
A spyware is a piece of software that collects and sends information (such as browsing patterns in the more benign cases or credit card numbers in more malicious cases) about users or, more precisely, the results of their computer activity, typically without explicit notification. They usually work and spread like Trojan horses. The category of SPYWARE is sometimes taken to include adware of the less-forthcoming sort.
An adware or advertising-supported software is any software package which automatically plays, displays, or downloads advertising material to a computer after the software is installed on it or while the application is being used.
How to prevent them?
To prevent Malware problems and other harmful programs and software, a very basic pre-caution that the user must exercise.
First, never open any files or macros attached to an email from an unknown, suspicious or untrustworthy source or sender. Delete these attachments immediately, then "double delete" them by emptying your Trash. Delete spam, chain, and other junk email without forwarding.
Second, never download files from unknown or suspicious sites and sources.
Third, always scan a floppy diskette, CDROM/DVD media, USB drive and any other form of external media storage from an unknown source for viruses before using it. Avoid direct disk sharing with read/write access unless there is absolutely requirement to do so.
Forth, back-up critical data and system configurations on a regular basis and store the data in a safe place.
Fifth, new viruses are discovered almost every day. Periodically check the Anti-Virus Policy or updates.
And lastly, never install pirated software on you PC. Pirated software is a good media source of a virus attack.
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